Syndicated from Reuters: Top News
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $3 billion annual export revenue over Pyongyang’s two July intercontinental ballistic missile tests.
The U.S.-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.
“We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close. The North Korean threat has not left us, it is rapidly growing more dangerous,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.
“Further action is required. The United States is taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies,” she said, adding that Washington would continue annual joint military exercises with South Korea.
China and Russia slammed U.S. deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea. China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi called for a halt to the deployment and for any equipment in place to be dismantled.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he hoped recent remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “were sincere – that the U.S. is not seeking to dismantle the existing situation or to forcibly unite the peninsula or to militarily intervene in the country.”
While the Security Council has been divided on how to deal with other international crises like Syria, the 15-member body has remained relatively united on North Korea. Still, negotiating new measures typically takes months, not weeks.
North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The new measures came in response to five nuclear weapons tests and four long-range missile launches.
Washington, frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, has threatened to exert trade pressure on Beijing and impose sanctions on Chinese firms doing #business with Pyongyang.
“We had tough negotiations this week,” Haley told reporters. “I think that the Chinese realized that the United States was going to push, but they responded and we appreciate how they cooperated with us during these negotiations.”
Liu, asked about U.S. negotiating pressure, said China has been consistent on trying to achieve denuclearization, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and “to re-launch negotiations to achieve this end.”
It had been unclear whether strained U.S.-Russia relations would hamper negotiations on North Korean sanctions. On Wednesday, Washington imposed unilateral sanctions on Moscow to punish Russia over accusations of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.
The new U.N. resolution adds nine individuals and four entities to the U.N. blacklist, including North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank, subjecting them to a global asset freeze and travel ban.